Although Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States, it’s notorious for its plant-causing allergies! In fact, this small state ranks among the worst states in the US for allergies. Let’s explore Rhode Island’s allergy season and learn about its peak, symptoms, and primary plant culprits. Let’s get started!
Rhode Island’s Allergy Season
The typical allergy season in Rhode Island runs from early spring until late fall. The season typically starts in February and ends in November, with winter being the lowest time for outdoor allergy sufferers but the worst for indoor allergy sufferers.
Unfortunately, Rhode Island is known for being a difficult state for allergy sufferers, with Providence often ranking as one of the worst cities to live in if you have allergies. During the peak season, those with allergies can expect to experience common symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose, coughing, congestion, pressure headaches, an itchy throat, itchy and watery eyes, and potentially asthma-related symptoms. It’s important for those with allergies to take the necessary precautions and treatments to manage their symptoms during this time, as we will detail below.
Let’s explore some of Rhode Island’s most common plants that cause allergic reactions.
The Plants that Cause Allergies in Rhode Island (by Season)
Different seasons can cause allergies due to the amount of pollen released by plants. Pollen levels are typically highest in spring and fall, when plants are actively reproducing, leading to increased symptoms for those with allergies. Across the east coast (where Rhode Island is found), the states have four seasons, which means different pollen levels at different times! Still, plants don’t release all the same pollen levels, especially not at the same times during the year.
In spring, tree allergies are the first to hit and often the worst. The primary trees that cause allergies in Rhode Island are oak, hickory, ash, willow, cedar, mulberry, and walnut. Oak and hickory are common in the Eastern United States, while ash and willow trees are found in wetland areas. Cedar and mulberry trees are also common in Rhode Island. These tree allergies usually start in late February and taper off in May.
Summer in Rhode Island generally rhymes with grass allergies. The primary grass allergens include ryegrass and bent, timothy, sweet vernal, fescue, orchard, and brome grasses. Ryegrass and bentgrass are common turfgrass species found in lawns, athletic fields, and golf courses. Timothy, sweet vernal, and fescue are common grasses found in pastures and hayfields, while orchard and brome grasses are typically found in agricultural settings. Rhode Island’s summer allergy season usually starts in May and ends in August.
Fall is weed allergy season in Rhode Island. Weed allergies start around mid-August and last until things get cold in the winter. The primary plant offenders for weed allergies are ragweed, sagebrush, amaranth, and wormwood. Ragweed is one of the most common causes of fall allergies, with a single plant able to release over 1 billion particles during a single season. Sagebrush and wormwood are common in dry, rocky, or sandy soils, while Amaranth is a common weed in agricultural fields and gardens.
Winter usually means the end of pollen-related allergies, but indoor allergy sufferers know that winter doesn’t mean “no” allergies! Common indoor allergens include mold, pet dander, dust, and more. In addition, since the cold weather keeps people indoors, indoor allergies are generally worse during this time.
The Best Allergy Treatments
Over-the-counter antihistamines, such as loratadine (Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec), can help relieve symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy eyes. Additionally, medications such as decongestants can work wonders to reduce congestion, although these medications might require a prescription from your doctor.
Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, can help desensitize individuals to specific allergens. This involves receiving regular injections of small amounts of the allergen (which they test you for), gradually increasing the dose over time. This can help reduce the severity of symptoms and may even lead to total tolerance in some cases.
Certain lifestyle changes can also help manage allergy symptoms. Avoiding known allergens, such as staying indoors on high-pollen days or keeping windows closed, can help reduce exposure. Keeping the humidity levels low in your home, using air purifiers, and regular cleaning can help to reduce indoor allergy symptoms. Consult your local weather stations and channels to stay informed about pollen counts.
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